Volquez, Heisey, Hernandez all big
Uncle Jonathan’s corn cob pipe, does Edinson Volquez like to flirt with disaster.
Like his last two outings, Volquez put the Reds in hole — this time by a 2-0 score. But the Reds had his back as he righted himself and took a 3-2 win.
In the first inning through three starts, Volquez has a 27.00 ERA (nine earned runs). It’s a 1.29 ERA (two earned runs, 14 innings) after the first. He allowed two runs and three hits over six innings tonight with three walks and five strikeouts.
Volquez cruised through innings two-through five. He retired a stretch of 11-in a row.
Although at 88 pitches thru six, he was lifted. It wasn’t by design but Volquez twisted his big right toe in a hole on the mound. (Knights of Columbus, that hurt.)
“I’ll be fine,” Volquez said.
*An unsung hero for the night was Ramon Hernandez. The Reds catcher caught two guys stealing and threw a runner out on a sacrifice attempt in the eighth. It was some curious managing by Padres skipper Bud Black to have pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia bunt with a runner on second and no outs. Hernandez fielded Denorfia’s bunt and fired a strike to third base to get the out. Replays showed he might have been safe.
Hernandez also nailed Denorfia trying to steal second on a strike-em-out, throw-em out double play to end the eighth.
“The main thing is not only did he throw the ball but our pitchers gave him a chance to throw the guys out,” manager Dusty Baker said of Hernandez. “Everybody thinks they steal off the catcher. Most of the time, they steal off the pitcher. If a pitcher gives him a chance to throw him out, our guys will throw them out.”
*Before that double play in the eighth, Bill Bray engaged Jorge Cantu in a tense 11-pitch at-bat. Cantu fouled off five-straight 2-2 pitches and got ball three. Bray then got the big strikeout.
*Chris Heisey made a spectacular diving catch to help Volquez in the first inning, resulting in Hawpe’s sac fly. Heisey of course also had the game-winning homer.
*Dusty Baker notched win No. 250 for the Reds tonight. He’s only the 11th MLB manager to reach 250 wins for three different teams. Look for a feature on that later. Some of his current and former players had some things to say in support of him.
*Brandon Phillips was 2-for-3 and has hit safely in 8 of 10 games. He’s batting .410 (16-for-39) on the season.
*Joey Votto was 1-for-3 and has hit safely in 10 of 11 games. He’s batting .444 (16-for-35). He’s a .387 hitter at Petco Park.
“He did start off rough. At least he didn’t say, here we go again. But he settled down and started throwing the ball great. He especially started getting strike one and was throwing 96-97 mph. He started dealing.” — Baker on Volquez
“His velocity was dropping in the fifth and sixth inning. The first couple of innings, he was 96 and it had some really good life on it. I don’t know if he got tired or what exactly. His velocity was down and I got a fastball up and in and was able to get the barrel of the bat on it.” — Chris Heisey on his homer off Padres pitcher Mat Latos, who made his 2011 debut.
“I was talking with Bryan [Price] about making good pitches and getting a lot of groundballs. In situation like that, I need to make a good pitch and get a double play. That happened tonight.” — Edinson Volquez